“He who wastes money on silly book, gives up dinner due to lack of money”…is oddly one absent from a book so full of bizarre and wonderful proverbs that it may well have been lost on the cutting table. The book however does feature over 500 odd proverbs from around the world catalogued from a range of sources and countries by famed writer Stephen Arnott, who’s silly idea has lead to this peculiar book. The book includes the wacky, the useless, the poignant and the most downright confusing of proverbs amongst it’s 271 pages, which may seem mainly pointless, but it’s still an oddly appealing release.
The author, who many may know of from his previous work such as “A man walks into a bar” that he co-authored, as well as work in the Sunday Times and on the TV show “Spitting Image”. Whilst proverbs are, something we’ve all heard many of in oft-clichéd manners throughout our every day life. The idea of an intelligent phrase, a wise word for the library of other useless junk in our poor overfilled heads, that includes such priceless ideas as “Honesty is the best policy” (never say it when the missus asks if her bum looks big in anything though) or “Look before you leap” (as we all know, we all leap into pools of flaming petrol on a daily basis). These are of course a bit too “normal” for the book of “peculiar proverbs” and it’s with great amusement that these are absent from the main body of the book.
However included in the book as the much quirkier, weirder, silly and some which have most certainly been lost in translation “He who eats old bread will swim easily” being one such example from Russia.
The book breaks the book into 31 chapters, based around things such as “money”, “children, “food, “work” and “luck” (amongst others obviously). Usually each is a few pages long with between 1 and 4 proverbs per page, with the occasional illustration dotted throughout.
A word of warning (lest us remember “Caution is the mother of the porcelain chest”, from the mouth of folks from Germany), this book will not fill your needs of a story with twists and turns. It’s not the proverbial epic in the literary sense of the word, in fact it lacks a story line and more represents a list than a narrative, so the wise may now click the little X in the top right hand of their screen and stop reading. The fools, can keep reading (“A wise man wavers, a fool is fixed”-Scotland) as this is a book for such folk (I’ll attest to that one personally), because dear fool, this is a book that delivers exactly what we need in our collection of other comedy books. Just remember “Life is an onion one peels crying” (with laughter I doth hope), as this is one of the books you will love.
The books odd turn of words will often have you giggling at the mental images, or thinking that that doesn’t work, whilst invoking thoughts of randomness to the mind that few books do. For those who read whilst at work, this is ideal, no narrative to follow, no real thought provocation to keep your mind pre-occupied, but yet enough giggles and oddities to amuse you no end.
If however you’re one to think “it’s better to give than to receive” (especially if it’s a black eye), then this is the ideal present to get a teenager back into reading, give them it at the start of a longish journey and they’ll be quoting their favourites the entire way. As it’s a relatively short read, they may well get it finished before the end of the journey as well (271 pages appears a lot, but the fact is that each page contains little) and they’ll feel quite good about what they’ve accomplished. Also as we all know “random” is the new thing, the books contents of proverbs as peculiar as “Coffee and and love are both best when their hot” or “a son in law is as honey, a son as worm wood” (yes I need to ask what that ones on about).
If you “jump high under a low ceiling” then you will adore this book’s little entry into your life, however if you’re in the category of “he who knows he is a fool, is no big fool” then it’s likely you’ll feel undermined by a book like this.
Note for my dear:
“The three small things that are best: A small beehive, A Small sheep, and a Small woman”